Lottery officials wait for winner of $425 mln Powerball to step up

MILPITAS, Calif. Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:26pm EST

MILPITAS, Calif. Feb 20 (Reuters) - Lottery officials were waiting on Thursday to hear from the holder of the single winning ticket for a $425.3 million Powerball prize bought in Northern California, a day after announcing the sixth highest jackpot drawing in U.S. history.

The winning ticket in the nationwide game was bought at a Chevron gas station in Milpitas, California, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco. The retailer will receive a bonus of $1 million.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Lottery, said he did not expect the holder of the Powerball ticket to come forward on Thursday, but lottery officials would hold a news conference later at the gas station.

"The first day is usually that moment when they try to figure things out, so I would be surprised if we would see them today," he said of the winner, whose ticket matched all six winning numbers in the Powerball drawing. They were 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and 34, according to the Powerball website.

The top prize for the lottery, which is drawn twice a week, had rolled over and swelled 15 times since the last jackpot on Christmas Day, said a Powerball spokeswoman in New York.

The winner can either opt to take the full amount as an annuity paid over 30 years or a $242.2 million lump sum, lottery officials said.

In the last two years, Powerball prizes have increased sharply due to a doubling in ticket prices to $2 and because California, the nation's most populous state, has joined 42 other states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands in playing the game.

The biggest winner in Powerball history, from Florida, took home $590 million before taxes in May 2013.

A delivery driver who shared a $648 million jackpot with one other winner in a Mega Millions lottery game in December bought his ticket from a gift shop in San Jose, about 10 miles (16 kms) from Milpitas. (Reporting by Laila Kearney in Milpitas, Calif.; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)